I have one of those Alton Brown terra cotta pot smokers that you can make with an electric hot plate, two terra cotta planter pots, a replacement grill grate and a heavy duty pie pan. However, I haven't been able to make it work properly, at all. I found out the hot plate, a Walgreen's 1,000 watt Kitchen Gourmet hot plate ($10) , shuts off after being turned on for about 20 minutes. The reason? It overheats internally, and shuts off via thermal shutoff. So, how can I use it to smoke and BBQ my food? I think I have the solution. I looked over the rheostat when I opened it up. When I would turn on the switch, two small, thin pieces of metal would come together. They each had a copper colored 'dome' that would touch when on. I noticed the copper domes were separated when the switch was off. So, it got me thinking about the third heavy metal piece above them that had a large white plastic peg that was very near one of the two thinner pieces of metal. I pushed it down, and sure enough, the plastic white peg pushed the two thinner pieces of metal apart. Ah hah! I found my thermal switch! I tested it with a 175 watt solder gun. I place it on the third piece of metal, and sure enough, it bent and caused the two metal pieces to separate once it got very hot! So, I bent that piece of metal farther away, and sure enough, when I heated it up again, it didn't separate the two thinner pieces of metal. Thermal shutoff switch bypassed! Now, I don't have a problem with it shutting down on me. Here's a drawing I made of it for illustration. I haven't tried it yet. That's next. I have to be careful, now, not to overheat and destroy the burner. I'll start with a medium setting, and work my way up to 210 degrees. I think the burner can handle that temperature without melting or becoming damaged.